I understand that non-Chasidic (Ashkenaz) haredim follow the Mishnah Berurah when it comes to Orach Chayim part of Shulchan Aruch. But Mishnah Berurah is only for Orach Chayim. What they do with other parts of S"A (Yoreh De'ah, Even Ha-Ezer, Chosen Mishpat) do they just follow Rema or later commentaries printed in standard S"A?

I mean, Chabad Chasidim have S"A Baal HaTanya which contains Yoreh De'ah and Chosen Mishpat.

I can recapitulate my question: do Litvaks/Yeshivish learn Mishnah Berurah and then Shulchan Aruch with commentaries for other parts of halacha?

  • There's very little of YD in the S"A Baal HaTanya Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 17:38

3 Answers 3


First of all, there's no rule that all of the litvishe Ashkenazim have to follow the Mishna Berura. It was very well accepted, but deciding on each halacha is a very complicated matter, and on every page of the Dirshu or Oz VeHadar versions of the Mishna Berurah you can find places where later poskim have disagreed and where certain rulings of the Mishna Berurah have not been widely accepted. In fact, in the introrduction to the Oz VeHadar Aruch Hashulchan, it states that Rav Moshe Feinstein would often pasken like the Aruch Hashulchan over the Mihnah Berurah (though finding all of those places isn't so easy since he doesn't always quote them) and there's a teshuvah by Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin's grandson which says that he also thought the Aruch Hashulchan wins over the Mishna Berurah, (Shut Bnei Banim 2:8). But again, halacha is complicated and great poskim decide these things on a case by case basis.

Having said all that, I think it should be clear the first source for an authoritative, litvish, late European commentary on Shulchan Aruch, the Aruch Hashulchan would be the answer, but the Chayei Adam and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch are used often as well, and are much easier to read. Of course, there are many issues, teshuvos, and poskim who have come afterwords, so seforim that are now popular include the Badei Hashulchan (and more recently Divrei Sofrim) on Y.D. and the Pischei Choshen (which isn't a commentary on Shulchan Aruch but still very thorough and widely accpeted as far as I've seen) on C.M. and dayanim studying Even Haezer often use the Otzar HaPoskim.

Also, I should point out that the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch on Y.D. and C.M. especially are far from comprehensive


Actually the non-Chasidic (Ashkenaz) haredim follow the Shulchan Aruch with the Rema's additions, as do other Ashkenazim.

When more clarification is needed, they (and all frum Jews) will consult the Nosei Keilim (commentaries) printed on the page and the back of the volume.

A deeper understanding of how the Halacha came to be, would require opening the Tur (of which the Shulchan Aruch is essentially a summary) and the Rambam, after learning the relevant Gemara with Rif, Ran and Rosh.

If that fails - or they want a shortcut - they may consult popular classic works that use the Shulchan Aruch as a basis. Popular ones are:

  • The Mishnah Berura on Orach Chaim
  • The Aruch Hashulchan on all 4 parts of Shulchan Aruch (with some omissions, some apparently got lost as it was originally published as small booklets.)
  • The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (from the Ba'al HaTanya)

Alternately - or if the above doesn't solve their specific problem - they will consult compendiums like the Chayei Adam or Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, or more recent works as described in an earlier answer.

Nowadays you can find Sefarim that deal exclusively with almost any topic, and they usually highlight Ashkenazi/Hassidich/Sefardi differences, when they exist.

  • Worth mentioning on YD are Chochmas Adam and, yes, SA Harav (even for non-hasidim).
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 16:26

On Yoreh Daioh the most popular sefer today is Badai Hashulchan by Rabbi Feival Cohen, although there are many, many more also written in the same style as the mishne berura.

Some others include (although not on all of it) Chelkas Binyamin Gufai Halochos. Maadanai hashulchan and Zer hashulchan.

On Even Hoezer there is Otsar Haposkim which is used by all rabbonim which although started many years ago by the Israeli Chief rabbi is far from finished and contains many volumes. There is nothing I am aware of in mishne beruru style. Choshen mishpat has only very little has done on it in mishne berura style. The sefer mishnas hamishpot by R Y Shwartz on chapters 75-87 and 259-271 is the only one I am aware of.

On Orach Chaim no one has yet copied the mishne berura but instead Oz V'hodor have brought out a mishne berura which includes all other and later opinions.

  • Zer hashulchan has something interesting. If one boils an egg in todays pots whether milchig or fleishig, you wont be able to tell the difference and in which it was boiled.
    – preferred
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 17:50

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